Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cats freed in the country suffer

Picture this: A family moves to Sonoma County and it can’t find affordable housing that accepts pets. Dad decides to drive the family cat out to a Sonoma County country road to “set it free.” He’s not worried about Spreckles, the cat. This cat can take care of himself. Dad’s seen Spreckles catch gophers and birds. Lots of gophers and birds out there. No problem, right? Wrong.
It’s a big problem for Spreckles who, if not run over by a car, will likely starve to death, be savaged by raccoons or badgers, be poisoned, shot, or, so debilitated from her day-to-day struggle to survive, finally killed by diseases like feline leukemia. There’s a reason our pet cats are called “domestic” shorthairs, “domestic” longhairs. Most don’t have the hunting abilities or the cunning of their “wild” cousins and will not survive.
If Spreckles is really unlucky, she will get pregnant and give birth to dozens of kittens who will also suffer. Spreckles could have as many as three litters of kittens each year. Average litter size: six. The tragic equation is 18 new, abandoned lives per year. You see, our profile family never gave a thought to “fixing” Spreckles because kittens are so cute. And besides, children should see the miracle of birth, shouldn’t they? This family didn’t know more than 5,000 “excess” cats and dogs are killed in Sonoma County shelters each year. They didn’t realize spaying and neutering your pets saves lives.

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